This Thursday, Lars Walther was officially presented as the new handball coach of FC Porto. At the VIP Tribune of Dragão Caixa, the Danish, 51, spoke for the first time as coach of the Dragons and it was easy to understand the principles that will guide his leadership: discipline, balance and patience were pointed as key for success. The goal, he continued, is to return FC Porto to the top of national handball, recovering the main titles of the Portuguese competition, while also hoping to climb a few stairs in Europe. For now, still living his first days in the blue and white universe, the coach admits he is very happy with the return to Portugal, this time to coach a “great club” of which he is proud to be part.
Next to Lars Walther was António Borges, representing the Board of FC Porto, and remembering the course the Danish had, to assure FC Porto hired a champion coach. Just like the coach, the director recalled that the objectives are to get back to titles, and also asked for the sporting truth to always be present next season.
Lars Walther (coach)
Returning FC Porto to the top
“I got here on Sunday and I'm very happy to represent this great club. I am very pleased with the players we already have and with the coaching team that will work with me. I think they know where we want to be and I have no doubt that, together, we will achieve our goals, returning FC Porto to the top of Portuguese handball. For now, it's important to find the balance, patience, and discipline necessary to get things started right. I’ve seen many videos of the players and I know we have many good athletes here, some of them very young.”
The objectives of the season
“The goal is to take the team to a higher level. From what I’ve seen, I think the team needs to reduce mistakes made throughout the match, it needs to be more stable. I want the players to understand how and why they play a certain type of handball. I want everyone to know what they are going to do, when they have to do it, and why. We want to form a team, because, individually, there is nothing to win.”
“Happy” in a “big club”
“I visited the Museum and it is obvious that this club is mostly notorious for the football. But, when you visit the Museum, you can see the whole history of this great club. Knowing this, it feels very special to work here.”
The return as coach
“A few years ago, I talked to my agent that, if there was ever an opportunity to return to Portugal [as a coach], it would be great. As a player I had three fantastic years in this country, so I always hoped to return here. I'm really happy.”
Plans for the pre-season
“We scheduled some friendly matches against Spanish and other Portuguese teams. We will have about 10 friendlies, but, for now, the first nine or ten days will be more about fitness.”
António Borges (representative of the Board of FC Porto)
“FC Porto signed a champion coach. Lars’ path speaks for itself: he was champion in Poland, Switzerland and Romania. He has great experience and gives us all the guarantees to reach our goals in the future. Lars is part of a project that has long been planned. In the past, we always had the concern of having an attractive and aggressive handball, and Lars being here accentuates many of the characteristics of the Nordic school. The goal is only one: to win the majority of the national titles again. Another thing I hope for this next year, is that, unlike what happened in the previous one, sporting merit decides who the champion is. We believe that this is also our contribution for the future. We want to see credit being given to merit and excellence.”